12 September 2019

Demur and deranged

Virtually a first priority is the local art museum. Brussels has a series of Royal Museums of Fine Art. We attend the Old Masters and quickly pass touch on the Fin-de-siecle as we have little time. The first Old Masters room started with flowing excesses of Baroque but I was earlier works later. Did that say something about art her or what they collected? There’s a good deal of obvious interaction with the Netherlands and also Germany and somewhat Italy, perhaps less France until later years. My fave work was the demure Matsys the Banker and his wife but some popular stars were also a room of incredible Brueghels (various Bruegel family members are spread throughout the displays) of absurdity and mania and religion or society but also of popular recognition. Interesting to find a matching pair of Cranach Adam and Eves that have cousins in the Ufizzi. Then slightly later, David, the French heroic painter, including his famed portrait of Marat dead in his bath. And various van Dykes and Rubens and Gossarts and Masters of… . As are these galleries, bliss. Then off to the Fin-de-siecle located in modern digs literally -4 to -8 floors below. From mid C19th poverty through impressionism and many movements and to WW1 and nouveau and decorative arts, it’s far closer to us and less a surprise; more lovely or informative and neighbourly to my eyes than strictly historical, although it is, of course. But time was short so just a rushed walkthrough.

The Royal Museums of Fine Art in Brussels include the Old Masters Museum and Fin-de-siecle Museum.

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